May 3, 2015 – May 9, 2015
“Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.” Psalm 81:13, 14.
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 187–190.
“Those upon whom rests the burden of this work [of reform] will not hold their peace when wrong is done, neither will they cover evil with a cloak of false charity.” Prophets and Kings, 675.
1 FROM A LOWER TO A HIGHER STANDARD
- In the plan of God to establish Israel in Canaan as the light of the world, how would they have been helped if they had welcomed His purpose to lead them back to Adam’s original diet? Psalms 78:23–25; 81:13, 14.
Note: “In order to modify the disposition, and bring the higher powers of the mind into active exercise, He [the Lord] removed from them the flesh of dead animals. He gave them angel’s food, manna from heaven.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1113.
- Since meat eating was permitted temporarily after the Flood in Genesis 9:3; 18:7; 27:9, why were the children of Israel punished for demanding meat? Numbers 11:33; Psalms 78:27–32; 106:14, 15.
Note: “When one clearly sees a duty, let him not presume to go to God with the prayer that he may be excused from performing it. He should rather, with a humble, submissive spirit, ask for divine strength and wisdom to meet its claims.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 441.
2 LENIENCY TOWARDS HARDENED HEARTS
- How did the Lord, in some respects, exercise patience and tolerance in the leading of His people when they were not prepared to take a higher standard? Psalm 81:11, 12; Ezekiel 14:4, 5.
- Because of the “hardness of their hearts,” what did God finally permit the Israelites to eat? What restrictions did God put on that permission for health reasons? Leviticus 11:1–4, 9, 10; 3:17; 22:8.
Note: “Upon their settlement in Canaan, the Israelites were permitted the use of animal food, but under careful restrictions which tended to lessen the evil results.” The Ministry of Healing, 311, 312.
- What kinds of statutes and judgments did God allow Moses to give them when they were not prepared to take a higher standard? Ezekiel 20:23–25. What advice should church leaders and evangelists always bear in mind? John 14:17; 16:13.
Note: “We must go no faster than we can take those with us whose consciences and intellects are convinced of the truths we advocate. We must meet the people where they are. Some of us have been many years in arriving at our present position in health reform. It is slow work to obtain a reform in diet. We have powerful appetites to meet; for the world is given to gluttony. If we should allow the people as much time as we have required to come up to the present advanced state in reform, we would be very patient with them, and allow them to advance step by step, as we have done, until their feet are firmly established upon the health reform platform. But we should be very cautious not to advance too fast, lest we be obliged to retrace our steps. In reforms we would better come one step short of the mark than to go one step beyond it. And if there is error at all, let it be on the side next to the people.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 20, 21.
3 BEFORE ENTERING CANAAN
- Before the entrance of Israel into Canaan, which other important original institutions, besides the original diet, were to be restored among them, so that they would be qualified to be the light of the world?
1) God’s rest—the Sabbath. Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 16:29, 30; Hebrews 4:1–3, 9–11. Why were they not able to enter into God’s rest in a complete sense (both literally and spiritually)? Hebrews 3:18, 19.
2) The marriage institution. Though Moses desired a restoration of marriage, why were his efforts unsuccessful? Matthew 19:4, 7, 8. Ezekiel 20:25. What later efforts were made in this regard? Malachi 2:14–16.
- Considering the hardness of heart of ancient Israel, how are we sometimes tempted to repeat their example?
Note: “The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record of God’s dealings with the wanderers of the desert in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in all ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would have His people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan.
“Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel. When brought into strait places, they murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293.
4 PREPARATION FOR THE NEW EARTH
- In the time of the end, before our entrance into heavenly Canaan, are God’s original institutions to be completely restored? Matthew 17:11; Acts 3:20, 21. What are they?
1) God’s rest, the Sabbath. Isaiah 56:1, 6–8; 58:12–14.
2) The marriage institution. I Corinthians 7:1, 2, 10, 11, 24, 29, 39.
3) The meatless diet originally assigned to Adam and Eve. I Corinthians 10:5, 6, 11; Isaiah 22:12–14.
Note: “In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to co-operate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in (Isaiah 58:12).” Prophets and Kings, 678.
- Understanding that, in God’s plan, “every divine institution is to be restored,” how are those who give the last gospel message to the world described? Isaiah 58:12; 61:4.
Note: “The prophet [Isaiah] here describes a people who, in a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, are seeking to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God. They are repairers of a breach that has been made in God’s law.” Prophets and Kings, 677, 678.
“In marked contrast with this multitude stands a little company who will not swerve from their allegiance to God. ‘Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus’ (Revelation 14:12). These are they of whom Isaiah speaks: ‘They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach. The restorer of paths to dwell in’ (Isaiah 58:12).” The Signs of the Times, February 8, 1910.
5 “WE HAVE HEARD HIS VOICE”
- Who was the Angel that came down on Mount Sinai with the oracles of God to be given to us? Acts 7:37–39; 3:22, 23; I Corinthians 10:1–4.
- How do we know that Christ did not come into this world to introduce a new religion, but rather to restore that which had been lost through the works of Satan? Luke 19:10; I John 3:8; Matthew 5:17.
Note: “The great plan of redemption results in fully bringing back the world into God’s favor. All that was lost by sin is restored.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 342.
- What is to be our experience and responsibility as laborers together with Christ? Compare John 16:13 with Amos 4:12.
Note: “We have a greater and more solemn truth than was ever before committed to mortals, and we are responsible for the way we treat that truth. Every one of us should be intent on saving souls. We should show the power of the truth upon our own hearts and characters, while doing all we can to win others to love it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 307.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 When we see a clear duty before us, how should we respond?
2 What does God sometimes use, when leading His people, when they are not prepared to take a higher stand?
3 Name the three original institutions that God wanted to restore before leading His people to Canaan?
4 What is to be restored before our entrance to the heavenly Canaan?
5 Did Christ come to this world to introduce a new religion or restore what had been lost?
© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.